|October 21, 2010|
Vangie A. Foshee, PhD, professor of health behavior and health education at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has received a grant of nearly $1.2 million to evaluate a program aiming to prevent psychological, physical and sexual dating abuse by adolescents who have been exposed to domestic violence.
The study, “A Randomized Efficacy Trial of ‘Moms and Teens for Safe Dates,'” is a three-year, $1,198,989 award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Moms and Teens for Safe Dates” was developed by Foshee and health behavior and health education colleagues, Professor Susan Ennett, PhD, and Beth Moracco, PhD, and James Michael Bowling, PhD, both research associate professors, with funding from the National Institute of Justice.
Mothers who have left an abusive partner obtain prevention information through the program and participate in interactive activities with their 12- to 15-year-old adolescents who were exposed to the abuse. The activities can be conducted in the home, at times convenient for the family.
Adolescents exposed to domestic violence are at increased risk for being abused by and abusing the people they date. Abusing – or being abused — during this critical developmental period can produce extremely negative psychological and physical consequences, interfering with development, distorting perceptions of normal behavior and providing inappropriate guidelines for evaluating future relationships.
Foshee and her research team will conduct a randomized trial to test the effectiveness of the program in preventing physical, psychological and sexual dating abuse perpetration and victimization by adolescents living throughout North Carolina. The program was designed for broad distribution if it proves to be useful.
The North Carolina Coalition against Domestic Violence (www.nccadv.org) is a community partner in the research.
“I’m very excited about conducting this study,” Foshee said, “because the findings will have direct relevance for breaking the cycle of family violence that leads to so many public health and societal problems.”